Myths and truths about Red Hat open source business model

Here is the list of top myths about the Red Hat company.

Myth : One cannot use RHEL without buying the subscription. This is legally not possible.

Truth : RHEL is open source software which comes under GPL licensing. As per GPL terms , it is free to download and use. Then in this case, it will be without subscription and it will not cover any products update and support. If you have bought RHEL with subscription, then  once the subscription period ends, you can still continue using the product legally.

Myth : After buying the RHEL subscription and then discontinuing it, one can get the RHEL security updates from the CentOS  repositories which are binary compatible with RHEL products. Then it is illegal.

Truth:  One can continue using the RHEL products in any way he wishes. But he will lose the advantage of Red Hat support system.

Myth : Red Hat artwork and logos are trademarked by Red Hat Inc. So this prevents one from sharing a copy with others as it can be done in case of Fedora, which is also released by Red Hat.

Truth: The Red Hat artwork and logo are trademarked and cannot be used without the prior permission from Red Hat. But the code can be shared. It should not have the Red Hat logo and artworks. The trademark and logo are completely owned by Red Hat and any use without subscription or permission would be illegal.


Just wanted to comment that the binary distributions are in fact protected so you cannot re-distribute any RedHat binary file (binary RPMs generated by RHE). You can however download and re-distribute sources (source RPMs) since they are GPL and RHE is obligated to allow access and re-distribution per the GPL. This is how CentOS is a 99% RHE compatible system, though there is no guarantee that a CentOS binary file will work on a RHE (or even vice-versa which is illegal), because compilation options will probably be different, though in the vast majority of cases there are no serious compatibility issues between the two and are almost identical.

Anyway, the point is that RHE is in fact Free and Open Source Software by definition, but only the source RPMs, not the binary ones. Although, i don't use RPM-based Linux systems, I do admire the fact that they have been able to make honest money on an Open Source Software model.

Nonsense. As per the GPL, you can distribute whatever binaries you want as long as you include an offer for the source code which generated these binaries as well. Red Hat Linux binaries, compiled from the GPL'd code are themselves governed under this license. You can re-distribute them as long as you follow the GPL. You can not use the RedHat trademarks, but you could start a BlueTie distribution which is basically RedHat, minus the artwork.

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